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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 149004 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: Barrio Gangs: Street Life and Identity in Southern California
Author(s): J D Vigil
Date Published: 1988
Page Count: 217
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Mental Health
Bethesda, MD 20852
University of Texas Press
Austin, TX 78722
Grant Number: F 32 HM0795-01
Publication Number: ISBN 0-292-71119-0
Sale Source: University of Texas Press
Marketing Manager
2100 Comal Street
P.O. Box 7819
Austin, TX 78722
United States of America
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study examines the causes and patterns of juvenile gang activity in the Mexican-American barrios of Los Angeles.
Abstract: The study concludes that gang activity among Mexican- American youths in Los Angeles has grown and flourished. In the past, community leaders and law enforcement officials have approached the problem without analyzing the reasons for and the attraction of gangs in the barrios. They have tried to eliminate the gangs without addressing the reasons for their existence and persistence. Rejecting this approach, the author asserts that only by understanding the complex factors that spawn and maintain gangs can gang violence be eliminated. Drawing on many years of experience in the barrios as a youth worker, high school teacher, and researcher, the author identifies the elements from which gangs spring: isolation from the dominant culture, poverty, family stress and crowded households, peer pressure, and the adolescent struggle for self-identity. Using interviews with gang members, the study shows how gangs often function as parent, school, and law enforcement in the absence of other role models in the gang members' lives. The author accounts for the longevity of gangs, sometimes over decades, by showing how they offer barrio youth a sense of identity and belonging not available to them elsewhere. 240 references and a subject index
Main Term(s): Juvenile/Youth Gangs
Index Term(s): California; Hispanic Americans; Juvenile delinquency factors; Juvenile gang behavior patterns; Urban area studies
Note: Mexican American Monograph Number 12
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